|James Bickford ‘08
I was inspired to get involved in sustainability by Dr. Richard Smalley who was a Nobel Prize winner; he urged a room full of high school students to go into the energy business. I see a lot of potential to do good and be successful. I also have an affinity for penguins and koalas and I think it is our responsibility to do what we can to live on this planet and protect it.I ask myself all the time why I am working on the Solar Decathlon. The short answer is that it interests me. I feel like I am a part of something very big, I am able to work toward an ethical cause, I am able to be on the groundwork of very cutting-edge science, and I can be successful and comfortable. I believe that the defining characteristic of my generation will be a transition away from fossil fuels. To be an undergraduate focusing on this field and doing some real work in it is exciting.
I think there is virtually endless potential for good coming out of this project. We are training engineers, business students, artists, marketing majors, liberal arts students, about what sustainability means, and giving them a background that will be vitally important in the next century. At a time when global warming and climate change are front-page news headlines once a week, we bring hope and optimism. I am not a doomsayer, but I think there are a lot of challenges to be faced. I think the Solar Decathlon represents this amazing opportunity, this call for change, and the excitement and energy that is inherent in such a big and revolutionary concept.
Post-Santa Clara Plans:
I would like to work for one of the upstart solar companies in the Silicon Valley, get a PhD in materials science and pursue a business or law degree. I would eventually like to start my own business working in alternative energy.
Favorite sustainable thing to do:
I like riding my bike to places. I like the wind in my hair and the chance to go at a slower pace than a car.